Macca To Front Nirvana – What Should They Play?

Paul McCartney has, of course, been dead even longer than Kurt Cobain, so maybe that’s what makes him the obvious candidate to step up to the mic for a rumoured Nirvana reformation at tonight’s Hurricane Sandy benefit concert. I’m not sure anybody would have picked Macca, Grohl and Novaselic for NME’s ultimate band issue, but it seems that somewhere deep in his heart the former Beatle has been dreaming of going grunge.

For Grohl, it must be a dream come true. In an interview earlier this year, he said:

When I was young, that’s how I learned how to play music – I had a guitar and a Beatles songbook. Even in Nirvana – the Beatles [were] such a huge influence. Kurt loved The Beatles because it was just so simple. Well, it seemed simple… they sound easy to play, but you know what? They’re fucking hard.

This could go one of two ways: it could be amazing, like that tour when Neil Young played with Pearl Jam as his backing band, or it could be terrifying, like that time a shirtless Take That covered ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. But if it is to work, we’re going to need a custom built setlist – what should they play?

1‘About A Girl’

Kurt apparently wrote this after spending an entire afternoon listening to ‘Meet The Beatles!’ on a loop. What better way could there be for the music to come full circle than to see McCartney cover one of Nirvana’s poppiest tunes?


2‘Live And Let Die’
Simply because Dave Grohl was born to play that drum part. It already has enough rock bombast to make it a live highlight, usually accompanied by a liberal helping of pyrotechnics. But who needs fireworks when you’ve got Grohl giving it ‘the full Animal’.

3‘Come (Together) As You Are’

If you’re going to make the collaboration truly unique, how about a mash-up? Admittedly, ‘Come Together’ is one of Lennon’s tunes, but there’s no need to let a little thing like that get in the way of a punning song title. It can’t be any worse than this ‘Smells Like Eleanor Rigby’ mash-up.


4‘Money’ & ‘Long Tall Sally’
Grohl played drums for a Beatles tribute band put together for 1994 movie ‘Backbeat’, in which he was joined by fellow grunge heroes like Thurston Moore and Henry Rollins. The film was based on the band’s early years in Hamburg, and McCartney was reportedly unhappy that it didn’t make him look ‘rock’n’roll’ enough. He can set the record straight by ripping through some of those early 50s staples:

5‘Territorial Pissings’/ ‘Hey Jude’ medley

Err, yeah… maybe not.